Saturday, April 25, 2015

Pre-Cruise Experiences
Celebrity Cruises Equinox

Oma and Opa are excited about their two week European trip this June – July. One of the highlights is scheduled to be our week cruising on the Celebrity Equinox. 



 Oma has heard good things about this Solstice-Class Cruise ship. It was built by Meyer Werft in Germany and is the second of the five Solstice-Class vessels, owned and operated by Celebrity Cruises.

Unfortunately, while attempting to book excursions online, Oma was introduced to her first disenchantment. One of the Ports had been removed from the itinerary! . . . What? . . No notification.

Oma called the cruise line and after about three hours of being bounced around; Oma was instructed to call the Customer Service number located on the bottom of their website.

I called the Celebrity Guest Relations Department at 1-844-418-6824 and spoke to a very nice lady. Unfortunately, she had no real answers. All she could tell me is the cruise line reserves the right to change their itinerary at any time without any compensation.

“Be forewarned just because you book a cruise with seven different ports of call, you wished to visit, the Celebrity Cruises can change their itinerary at any time and without notice!”


When pressed, the Celebrity Cruise representative researched and came back with no real answer, other than they no longer have an agreement with Porto Torres (Sardinia), Italy – however, she did not know why.

It is interesting to note that along with the removal of Porto Torres – the price of the cruise dropped by almost 50%! Somehow this left me with the feeling that we were cheated. Celebrity Cruise representative added that the Cruise line believed a two-day stay at the dock in Palma De Mallorca, Spain would give their passengers more opportunity to take advantage of their extensive excursions there.

Oma will let you know if the two-day stay at Palma De Mallorca is a positive during her blog updates while traveling.

Oma expressed her displeasure in regards to discovering the change in the cruise itinerary while attempting to book excursions online. The Celebrity Cruise representative explained that the passengers were notified. Unfortunately, although they did have my email address; somehow it was stored in the wrong location hence the lack of notification to Oma and Opa – another cruise line fail.

Additionally, Oma was very disappointed while attempting to purchase an on-board drink package. The webpage advertised the Premium Package for $65.00 per day. 




Overview


For the ultimate in value and convenience, our premium package provides all the benefits of our Premium Non-Alcoholic Package. In addition, you can enjoy our entire selection of Beers as well as Spirits, Cocktails and Wines by the Glass up to $13 per serving. Plus, with purchase of this Premium Package, you can enjoy a 20% discount on all wines by the bottle purchased on board, even our prized Reserve Wine list and Rare Wine list. Price shown is per person, per day.

So Oma figured $65.00 times seven days would be $455.00. However, the total in the shopping cart totaled $536.90 and included an $81.90 service charge. When I asked the Celebrity Cruise representative about service charge, I was told that it was a MANDATORY 18% Gratuity.

Oma is of the belief that a gratuity* or tip should be earned. If you automatically add it to the base price it is merely a sneaky way to inflate the advertised base price.


Therefore the price of the Premium Drink Package became $76.70 per day.

My Celebrity Cruise representative disagreed and therefore, there will be no Drink Package for Oma on our 7 Night Italy & Mediterranean Cruise.

So in quick summary, Oma and Opa have not even boarded the Celebrity Equinox; but are already disappointed customers. 

Please stay tuned for further experiences and reviews as Oma and Opa adventure in Europe this summer!


* Gratuity - something given without claim or demand.


2 comments:

  1. As an avid cruiser, just wanted to let you know that no matter how you purchase alcohol (whether by the drink, by the wine bottle, or a package) there is a mandatory gratuity. That is across every cruise line I have been on. I just don't want you to be surprised when you get on board!

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    1. Thank you Stacey . . . however, for me, that makes it part of the base price and not a gratuity! I guess that a Mandatory Gratuity is an oxymoron I will just have to learn to live with!

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